New Leader Tim Farron MP rounded off conference with a great speech about why Britain needs a strong Liberal voice.
Liberal Democrats met in Bournemouth last week for the party's first conference since the general election. Despite our heavy losses at the polls, the conference was the most well attended in the party's history. With over 20,000 new members joining the party since polling day, over 500 of those attending Bournemouth were recent joiners who had come to conference for the first time.
Tim Farron delivered his first speech to Lib Dem conference as leader of the party. In it he called on the millions of liberal mined people in Britain to become Liberal Democrats and join the party.
Tim highlighted the gains won by Liberal Democrats in government and said that the comfort zone of protest does nothing for the people we need to help. Only by winning power can we directly influence the policies put into action by governments.
In a rousing end to his speech, Tim made a passionate argument for liberalism in Britain and called for the Lib Dem Fightback to continue in the years ahead.
Conference tribute to Charles Kennedy
There were not many dry eyes during the conference tribute to Charles Kennedy who tragically died shortly after the general election. Charles was a great liberal who was passionate about Europe. He led the calls in the SDP to merge with the Liberal Democrats and then became the new party's leader after Paddy Ashdown.
Tim Farron said the death of Charles put into perspective the election defeats suffered by the party in May. He said: "Charles's death has robbed us of the sharpest mind, the wittiest tongue and the nicest bloke.
"The 23-year-old who came from fourth place to gain Ross, Cromarty and Skye, that same Charles Kennedy who inspired so many who had doubts to support the merger of Social Democrats and Liberals.
"Charles, who led us to our largest number of MPs in living memory; Charles, who took on every corner of the establishment and led the campaign against the illegal Iraq War.
"Charles, we are so proud of you, and we will rebuild and we will fight back and we will do it in your honour."
Conference debated a variety of issues. The key debates were on:
Meeting the Leader: Tim Farron meets his old university fellow student, and now Leader of the Opposition in Gateshead, Cllr Jonathan Wallace, at the candidate's reception.
Former Gateshead teacher and Northumberland Councillor, Philip Latham, Anne-Marie Curry from Darlington, Cllr Frank Hindle from Gateshead and former South Shields by-election candidate Hugh Annand at the Parliamentary Candidates' reception.
Standing ovation for Tim Farron after his first Leader's speech.
Song books on sale - at the glee club on the final evening of conference.
Early morning start - Tim Farron was in the studio before the start of conference for media interviews.
Pizza and politics - social event
Gateshead Liberal Democrats are holding a pizza and politics evening on Wednesday 7th October from 7pm to 9pm at Marley Hill Community Centre. This is a free event though there is a pay bar. All welcome.
The guest speaker is Lord John Shipley, former Leader of Newcastle City Council and now part of the Lib Dem local government team in the House of Lords.